Opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) should first respond to the demands of last Saturday's protesters before she will meet him to discuss relations with China. At the massive protest in Taipei, Tsai challenged Ma to a public debate about his pro-China policies, but the Presidential Office retorted by saying debates were for elections, and the two leaders should just have a discussion instead.
Mainland Affairs Council chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said yesterday she was prepared to visit Tsai at the DPP headquarters immediately to discuss the government's China policies, but the party said she should first deliver a report to the Legislative Yuan.
Lai told reporters the president summoned her yesterday morning to ask why the DPP was so upset at his China policies. Lai said she proposed an immediate visit to the DPP chairwoman to communicate with her. The president approved of her suggestion, she said.
For more than ten years, the government's policy has been to seek the largest possible consensus on relations with China, and to protect national security, guarantee Taiwan's national interests, Lai said.
The MAC chairwoman said most of the policies now being put into place through negotiations with China had also been proposed by the previous DPP administration, but had never been realized because of cross-strait tension and enmity.
Lai said she could not understand the DPP's new stance against talks with China. The Presidential Office called on Tsai to set aside conflict with the government and sit down for a discussion on China policies, rather than a full-scale debate.
"Debates are for elections, but since there are no elections now, there is no need for debates," presidential spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said.
The presidential spokesman added that if she visited the president, Tsai could also discuss other topics such as the economy and the fight against corruption and violence.